Captain! Do Something About This Turbulence!

When last we blogged about Air Cancer Flight 102, we were dealing with scheduling problems.  The Gemzar proposed by Wonder Doc during January for our new chemo regimen wasn’t being exactly cooperative.

Thankfully, my proposed two weeks on chemo/one week off chemo schedule now is in place.  My white blood cells, neutrophils,  platelets, and other little blood count goodies are behaving themselves and returning to within acceptable limits when they’re supposed to, so we’re now into our third cycle of two on/one off 🙂 Yaaaay! We really, really didn’t want to switch to yet another chemo drug and we didn’t particularly like the one that Wonder Doc was proposing.

Chemo, itself, has been relatively uneventful over these past several weeks. The day of chemo, I should specify. It helps that we now guzzle gallons of water, thereby keeping our veins ready to pop up and cooperate with our chemo nurses. No more multiple needle sticks for us, thank you very much! A chemo pal had to undergo eight (ouch!) sticks last week before the nurses were successful in getting a needle into her vein. She’s joined my Drink Lotsa Water Club!

The week “off” is another subject, entirely. One would think that the week “off” would be easy. No blood draws, no chemo, piece of cake! N O T!!  My first week “off” brought with it some raging arguments, beginning each evening around 8 PM, between our Alien* and our nasty inguinal lymph node.

We’d been perking along with Perkocet for pain over the past few months.  It usually was needed only in the evenings — we remained relatively pain free during daytime hours — and usually one or two doses were all it took. Some days, we were totally Perkocet free.

Well, boy golly, did that ever change during the first week “off.” The  nightly arguments got worse and worse and we found ourselves, often, looking at the clock and begging it to shift over to the next time we could take some Perkocet.

It’s difficult to describe a fight between an Alien and an inguinal node. Let’s just say that they were taking turns being painful and when one stopped the other would start. We were sorely tempted one evening to call Wonder Doc but, honestly, didn’t feel up to dealing with the answering service and didn’t really want to wake the poor man up.  So, at our next office visit he got a bit of an earful 😉

The next week “off” — the week before this past week — was just downright horrible. We felt like shit excrement all week and were unable to participate in several planned activities, including our local writers’ crit group. Those who know me know full well that it takes a LOT for me to give up one of those meetings!

So, this past week we had a moment of True Confessions when we had our audience with Wonder Doc and we begged him to do something about this turbulence! We confessed to: (a) taking Perkocet practically around the clock for several days; (b) once again being tempted to call him in the middle of the night; and (c) looking through our kitchen drawers to figure out which knife or other implement would be easiest to use in performing a little self-surgery to remove the offensive Alien and his counterpart.

I think that it was possibly item (c) that most caught Wonder Doc’s attention. Whatever it was, he took pity on me and decided to start me on 24/7 pain relief (one pill every twelve hours) with something called MS Contin and Perkocet only as needed. Contrary to my usual nosiness, I didn’t even ask him about the ingredients in MS Contin. Just figured it was some sort of offshoot of Oxycontin.

A Google search later and, lo and behold, we’re now on <gulp!> morphine sulfate. Geeze Louise. I guess we’ll just have to add my name to the long list of writers before me who were under the influence of various opiates. I must say, it’s a rather esteemed little group, but I’d much rather have gotten on the list through my writing and not through prescription medication!

The good news is that the stuff seems to be working. And there appear to be some changes in the inguinal node’s size.  (We hope we’re not just hallucinating!)  So, keep your fingers crossed that it and our lovely Gemzar do the trick.  Oh, and by the way, if we do seem a bit woozy when you talk with us, now you know why 😉

*Alien: a euphemism for the lovely tumor that is excavating its way out of my abdominal cavity through my umbilicus.

Advertisements
Posted in Air Cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Doctors, Health, Humor, Medical System | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

A to Z Challenge: B is for …

just happens to be for my friend, fellow Florida Writers Association member, fellow Palm City Word Weavers member, and award-winning author Bette Lee Crosby, whose site at Bette Lee Crosby‘s Books & Inspirational Stories contains links for her books Spare Change and Cracks in the Sidewalk, together with news of Bette’s upcoming books, great author interviews, book reviews, and other items of interest!

Bette lay claim to the letter B when I started my alphabet challenge, and it seems only fitting since it’s the first letter in her name 🙂  So, Bette, this post is for you!

B also is for books!

Books — or collections in one place of commonly-recognizable symbols — date back to the time of the Sumerians and their use of Cuneiform symbols on clay tablets.  It’s said that some tablets even had their own form of envelopes. It’s probably a good thing that there wasn’t yet an established postal service. Can you imagine how much weight the poor postal delivery person would have to lug — and the resultant Worker’s Compensation claims?!

Despite the current, rapidly-growing world of e-publishing, there’s just something about a paper book. Having loved books from a very early age, thanks to my parents’ influence and later to that of some great teachers, I know I’ll never lose my desire to hold a book in my hands, to feel its heft, to admire the type, to gaze at the pictures.

There are some books in my collection that I have lugged around for years. I’ve packed and unpacked them, cussing at times, I’m sure, at their weight as I packed them, then gazing upon them reverently again as I unpacked each one and found just the right place on the shelf. One book, a gift from my parents when I was probably around ten years old, is of the poetry of Walt Whitman. It’s printed on glossy paper — illustrations on left-hand pages and poems on the right — and, despite its age, it still has its original dust jacket.

Several other glossy-paper books are from my college years when I minored in art history. It’s hard to imagine what it must cost to be an art history minor or, worse yet, major, these days! I pulled one of the volumes from its shelf the other day to look something up. As I opened the front cover, I noticed stamped inside the price from the FSU bookstore: $45.00. Forty-five dollars?!? I hate to admit it, but I purchased that book around forty years ago! It’s still considered one of the reference “Bibles” for art history, so what must that book cost today? Do they sell books on the installment plan?

No matter their cost, though, I still adore my books, and many of them are like old friends. You may not hear from them often, but when you do, it’s as if you’ve never been out of touch 🙂 So, yes, I’ve adapted (begrudgingly, I’ll admit it) — to the electronic age and to e-books, but, I thank the Chinese for being the first to make paper and to enable us to have paper books. Except, maybe, when I move.

| 10 Comments

Cozy Up with Author Tonya Kappes’ Fiction … and More!

Welcome to our weekly feature,

The E-Pub 

 Information from both the author’s and the reader’s points of view concerning the publishing frontier known as e-publishing.

Our guest this week is international best-selling author Tonya Kappes. Amazingly-enough, with her long and growing list of published titles, Tonya began her writing career only five years ago. We’re excited to introduce you to this talented author, so grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy! Don’t forget to leave a comment here — Tonya has graciously offered to give TWO commenters their choice of one of her e-books. Leave your e-mail and the name of the book you’d like to win (see links, below) in your comment so you can be notified!

Tonya, at what age did you first realize you wanted to write books and how/when did you first share this ambition with “the world”? Gosh, I didn’t start until five years ago. I’ve always been good at telling stories, but boy is that different than writing them down.

I took a lot of on-line classes, joined writer’s groups, critique group, and attended a lot of workshops. Writing isn’t an easy job, but it’s one that I continually learn something. The learning process never ends.

I immediately told everyone that I was going to write a novel. I’m not very shy, so telling people was easy. Plus everyone that knows me knows that when I put my mind to something. . .I DO IT!

Who in your life and what authors you read had the most influence over your decision to write? Definitely my husband. He is the one who encouraged me after he picked up a book I was reading and told me that I could write one. He was right. (As usual but we won’t tell him that!)

 You’re an international best-selling author of women’s fiction and cozy fiction, but you also have written non-fiction books geared toward helping authors to effectively market and promote their careers.  Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction and why? They reach out to different communities so I really couldn’t choose. I love reaching readers and help escape everyday life, but I also love to help writers and pay it forward without expecting anything in return.

Cozy fiction is a popular genre. What do you think is its appeal? I really think people relate to the everyday heroine and having to solve her own crimes. She has to rely on smarts and instincts to save herself. Don’t we love that??

Is there another genre you’d like to try and what attracts you about that genre? No. I’m not good at writing romance. I really stink at it because I tend to write humorous and that is a hard line for me to cross. I’m pretty content with women’s fiction and cozies.

Please tell us about your latest release and any releases we may look forward to soon. A Charming Crime is a made up world of magical/psychic stuff….I’ve never written anything where I completely make up the entire world and words with in that world. It was a ton of fun! It is coming out on June 12th!!! YIPPEE~

It’s magical! I write super light and give my readers a good escape from today’s hectic life. When they pick up a Tonya Kappes novel, they know they are going to enjoy a light read where they don’t have to think for a few minutes.

Here is the blurb for A Charming Crime:   Bubble… Bubble… June Heal has nothing to lose when she relocates her homeopathic cure shop, A Dose of Darla, from the flea market booth in her home town, to a quaint shop in the cozy but unusual little town of Whispering Falls,Kentucky. Or so it seems.

Cures and trouble…  Whispering Falls has a lot of secrets. From talking snow globes to whispering animals not to mention a few sprinkles of fairy dust, June realizes Whispering Falls is more magical than she thought. . .literally.

Magic stirs…  June discovers she was born into a family of psychics, and her homeopathic cures truly are magical. Unfortunately, they are not magical enough to save her from being the number one murder suspect when a member of the community that she had just had a disagreement with shows up face down in the lake with June’s lucky charm in the victim’s grasp.

And troubles double… Add to that an attraction to her high school best friend, Sheriff Oscar Park and  Mr. Prince Charming, her cat, is stealing charms from Belle’s Baubles, June is forced to clear her name in more ways than murder. After all, they don’t let you have a cauldron in jail.

“Tonya’s Street Team” has its own page on Facebook since just this week. What can you tell us about the Team? It’s easiest for me to share my letter I sent to my readers. It’s really all about them:  This is a team that I have assembled because you have been so supportive and an instrumental part of my success. I’m creating this group to help spread the word about my books. The best sell for an author is personal recommendation. The best way for me to do that is for you, my friends, to spread the word through email or word of mouth would be a great big help.

There isn’t much to it. As a member, you will join my online Yahoo group which is a yes to the street team invite. And in return you get a chance to:
* have a character named after you in my books
* win the monthly drawing for Street Team Members only-you are automatically entered. (this includes gift cards, books, and other fun stuff)
* in the month of my releases, you have a chance to win a $25 Visa gift card
* Fun tips about my characters
* More extra things!

What do you have to do to be a TONYA KAPPES STREET MEMBER? You only have to do none or all of these:)

* join the Tonya Kappes Street Team Yahoo loop
* spread the word to family and friends about the books of mine that you really liked
* take promo materials to local writers groups, conventions, etc…
* be my friend
* pick one of my books for your book club
* Skype me into your book club or Google Plus is fine too
* if you have a blog, feature my new book trailer, review my book, interview me
* post reviews for my books on all the reader-centric sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc…

I can’t take credit for the street team concept. It was coined in the 70’s with music executives working on spreading the word about new artists, and making them bigger names. I’d love for you to spread the word about my books! Will you please join my team? Email me at tonyak11(AT)yahoo(Dot)com and put JOIN in the subject line.

Why am I doing this when I only release four books a year and giving away something every month? Easy! YOU have always showed up for me! You have been the inspiration to keep me going and writing books. It’s time I give back to you, my reader! I give back to the writing community with this blog. I want to connect with you!

You will never know how much I appreciate every single one of you!

Thanks so much!
Tonya

Who are your favorite authors? There are just too many to name.

If you could pick another author’s character and use him or her as a character in a novel of your own, what character would that be and in what type of setting would you write about him or her? I would probably pick one of Heather Webber’s characters. She’s my critique partner and we write similar genres. We have a good time coming up with different scenarios. It would definitely be a magical world.

You poll your readers and ask them to list five words that best describe your novels. What top five words would they list? Quirky, fun, easy to read, funny, and relatable.

My novel, SPLITSVILLE.COM, just finaled in TWO categories in The Next Generation Indie Book Awards: HUMOR and MYSTERY! I was so excited! The awards ceremony is at The Book Expo of America in New York. I get a medal!!! How fun is that????

Are you more “a dog person” or “a cat person,” and what kind of canine or feline assistance with your writing do you receive, if any? I’m an all around animal person. BUT I do have two canine companions that sit by my feet and watch me while I write. I actually thank them in each one of my books!

You’re admitted to heaven and you decide to throw a dinner party to celebrate your arrival.  What five people, living or dead, are on your guest list? That’s not fair…..I’d have to pick my children and husband. That’s five and I’d want to spend all the time with them.

Where can you and your books be found on line? Please share your links.

Website: Tonyakappes.blogspot.com

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Author Biography for Tonya Kappes: Tonya is an Amazon Movers and Shakers, and self-published International bestselling author.

She writes humorous cozy mystery and women’s fiction that involves quirky characters in quirky situations. Splitsville.com, the first novel in the Olivia Davis Mystery Series, is a double finalist in the Next
Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories. Carpe Bead ‘em is a finalist in Amazon’s eFestival of Words in the Women’s Fiction Category.

She travels to various writer’s groups giving workshops on marketing and promoting no matter where you are in your career, and on self publishing.

Books by Tonya Kappes – Fiction: Carpe Bead ‘em; Something Spooky This Way Comes; Believe Christmas Anthology; An Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery – Splitsville.com

Grandberry Falls Series: The Ladybug Jinx; Happy New Life; A Superstitious Christmas; Never Tell Your Dreams

A Divorced Diva Beading Mystery Series: A Bead of Doubt

A Magical Cures Mystery: A Charming Crime

Non-Fiction: The Tricked-Out Toolbox~Promotional and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs

The E-Pub PUB thanks Tonya for spending some time with us this week and we wish her much continuing success in her writing endeavors. 


Posted in Authors, Books, E-Pub PUB, E-publishing, E-readers, Kindle, Nook, Publishing, Reading, Women's Fiction, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Elementary, My Dear Watson!

Welcome to our weekly feature,

The E-Pub 

 Information from both the author’s and the reader’s points of view concerning the publishing frontier known as e-publishing.

Our guest this week is author Hugh Ashton and we’re so excited to let him talk to you about his books and his writing! Hugh has established a sub-genre that, quite frankly, we’re jealous we didn’t think of first! 🙂 So, grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy!

Hugh, at what age did you first realize you wanted to write books and how/when did you first share this ambition with “the world”? Probably at the age of about 18 or so when I went to college. I thought it would be rather cool to be an author. I’d written stories of novella length before then, and I had far too many pages in the school literary magazines filled with my adolescent poetry. But the first thing I wrote which I really felt was worth unleashing on the world was about 30 years later.

 Who in your life and what authors you read had the most influence over your decision to write? Who has influenced my decision to write? I’d have to give a nod to a school teacher, Richard Kingdon, who encouraged me to write the aforementioned poetry, and gave me a lot of useful criticism. Recently, I have several friends who have been complementary about my writing and have encouraged me. And a special thank you to Cindy Mullins here in Japan, who attempted to find a market for Beneath Gray Skies. The fact that she couldn’t do so is no reflection on her or her abilities, but she believed in it enough to persuade me that it was worth releasing as an independently published novel.

 What influence has your career choice had on your choice of writing subjects? My career is basically a writer – technical writer, journalist, copywriter. So At the Sharpe End was mainly about the things I know something about: banking, technology, and Japan. Otherwise, I would say that my career is not really relevant to the subject matter, though it may be relevant to the way in which I approach writing fiction, which is more that of a craftsman than that of an artist. I revise as I go along, because for a magazine article or a piece of writing like that, there may be no second chance – if you make a mess of the first draft, that editor isn’t going to use you again.

 What about living in Japan – how has that changed you and your writing, or has it? Definitely. I am living in a country whose first language isn’t English. I have many friends from other English-speaking countries: the US, Canada, India, Australia, and so on, each with their own unique dialect. My writing tends to borrow a little in places from all of these. I also often have to write for non-native speakers of English, and that tends to add a certain clarity to my writing.

At the same time, I am out of touch with modern slang and contemporary culture in the US and the UK. Name ten popular TV shows over the past 20 years, and the odds are that I will never have seen any of them, or perhaps one episode at the most. The same goes for films and popular music, etc. Slang and that sort of thing passes me by. I left the UK before there was a public Internet, when there were no mobile phones or laptop computers, and Margaret Thatcher was still in power. I have no idea how young people in the UK, for example, use mobile phones, at what age they get their own phone, how they do their homework (on a computer), etc. There is no way I can write a contemporary novel set in the US or the UK.

 You’ve established a unique genre niche with your alternative history stand-alone titles (Beneath Gray Skies, Red Wheels Turning, At the Sharpe End) as well as with your Untold Tales of Sherlock Holmes series From the Deed Box of John H. Watson, M.D., as Discovered by Hugh Ashton. Can you share with us the genesis for your world of alternative history? Alternative history is fun, for a start. I think it’s fair to say that if I knew then what I know now, I would be an academic historian. I was taught badly at school, though and hated history, until after college I started to go out with a history teacher, and she taught me that history is about “why”, not “what”. And I think that many historians explore “what if” scenarios to understand “why”. So you look for the “butterfly effect”, you know, a butterfly flaps its wings in China, and it starts a chain of events that causes a hurricane in the Caribbean. In Beneath Gray Skies, it was Lincoln falling ill with fever, and Seward and Chase allowing the South to secede.

And then what happens if the Confederacy doesn’t come crawling back? That was the start of Beneath Gray Skies. A Confederacy that survived into the 1920s, and made an alliance with an unsavoury German political party led by a young ambitious Austrian politician. I moved the Beer Hall Putsch from Munich to Berlin, added the assistance of the Army of the Confederacy, and there we are. Red Wheels Turning is set in the same universe, but there’s less alternative history there.

 What other books do you have underway and what can you tell us about them? Can you give us a few hints? Well, the Deed Box has taken a fair bit of excavating. I’m taking time out from writing the final story of the third volume, Secrets from the Deed Box of John H Watson MD to do this interview. Out soon.

There’s also another story in the alternative universe of Beneath Gray Skies – a prequel, set in Russia at the time of the Civil War. Fanny Kaplan’s assassination attempt against Lenin succeeds, and Trotsky out-manoeuvres Stalin in the battle for the Bolshevik leadership. In Siberia, the Czech Legion is running rampant, and there are warlords fighting for control of hundreds of tons of gold. Much of this is based on historical fact, and some is “what if”. I have the same character, Brian Finch-Malloy, as a central protagonist, but I also write quite a lot from Stalin’s point of view. That’s interesting to do, I can tell you! Gold on the Tracks may get finished this year.

Do you find it challenging to write in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle and has the challenge become less so with each additional Deed Box tale published? Not much of a challenge. Being somewhat isolated from contemporary English helps a lot. But yes, it gets easier, because I get to know the characters much better.

What other authors’ styles have you thought about emulating and can we expect to see any in the near future? I’d love to do le Carré, but I’m not good enough.  You’re not going to see any of those. I really want to develop my own style, as I’m too much of a chameleon, really. For non-fiction, I would like to be able to write like Michael Lewis.

 Which of your characters is your favorite and why? I’m very fond of my Watson, whom I think is a little more sharply delineated than Doyle’s. Not that the canonical Watson is a cardboard cut-out – he’s a human being with foibles and a temper, among other things – but I think I’ve put a little more flesh on the bones. In my short stories about Japanese people, I rather like Mrs Sakamoto – she’s quite close in her character to several people I know.

Is there another genre you’d like to try and what attracts you about that genre? Another genre? Science fiction, perhaps. 

If you could pick another author’s character – aside from the Sherlock Holmes characters — and use him or her as a character in a novel, who would that be and in what type of setting would you write about him or her? George Smiley – there’s a lot I’d like to see written about him. I’d place him in a Cold War situation – about the time of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.

 You poll your readers and ask them to list five words that best describe your writing. What top five words do they list? I’m going to cheat here, and pick my five words from my Amazon reviews: Well-written (this turns up a lot); Exciting; Intriguing; Wonderful (and yes, that word does turn up a bit); Absorbing

You’re not going to find “literary” or “poetic” describing most of my work, though Tales of Old Japanese verges on the literary. 

Are you a dog person or cat person and what kind of canine or feline assistance with your writing do you receive, if any? Cat, but we keep no pets.  

You’re admitted to heaven and you decide to throw a dinner party to celebrate your arrival.  What five people, living or dead, are on your guest list? Christopher Marlowe – I think he’d be pretty entertaining; Cleopatra – there must have been something about her that made her so popular; Lady Gaga – she’d be company for Cleopatra and she could entertain us afterwards; Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili – there are quite a few questions I’d like answered – not sure that he’d be welcome in Heaven, though; Eddie Izzard – he’d keep the conversation rolling, and I think he and Kit Marlowe would find a few things in common

Where can you and your books be found – please give us your links? I ramble on at http://BeneathGraySki.es and I have other book sites. http://hughashtonbooks.info provides a list of places you can buy or order my books. Amazon, B&N, etc. Maybe even from a bricks and mortar bookstore (I’m a great believer in paper books as “proper” books.

Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/HughAshton.Author

Twitter is @hughashton

Author Biography, Hugh Ashton: OK, here’s the “official” bio: Hugh Ashton was born in the UK in 1956. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, he worked in a variety of jobs, including security guard, publisher’s assistant, and running an independent record label, before coming to rest in the field of information technology, where he assisted perplexed users of computers and wrote explanations to guide them through the problems they encountered.

A long-standing interest in Japan led him to emigrate to that country in 1988, where he has remained ever since; writing instruction manuals for a variety of consumer products, assisting with IT-related projects at banks and financial institutions, and researching and writing industry reports on the Japanese and Asian financial industries. Some of the knowledge he has gained in these fields forms the background for At the Sharpe End, his second novel.

He has recently published two volumes of Sherlock Holmes stories with Inknbeans Press of Los Angeles: Tales from the Deed Box of John H. Watson MD, and More from the Deed Box of John H. Watson MD, each containing three stories in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as a collection of five stories of the older generation of Japan, entitled Tales of Old Japanese.

His first published novel, Beneath Gray Skies, is an alternative history set in a “past that never happened”, where the Civil War was never fought.

His second novel, At the Sharpe End, features an expatriate consultant living in Tokyo, Kenneth Sharpe, who finds himself thrust into a world of violence and high finance that takes him by surprise.

The third novel, Red Wheels Turning, takes some of the characters of Beneath Gray Skies, and sets them in the background of Tsarist Russia, where a battle of wits takes place to control the secret Russian wonder weapons that could win the war for the Allies.

The E-Pub PUB wishes to point out that Hugh left out one fact from his bio: He’s skilled in writing in the 2nd person point of view 🙂 We also wish to thank him for taking time out from his busy writing schedule for this interview and to wish him much success with his upcoming releases!

 


Posted in Alternative History, Authors, Books, E-Pub PUB, E-publishing, Historical Fiction, Japan, Kindle, Mystery, Nook, Publishing, Reading, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“The Kiss Off” from Down Under

Welcome to our weekly feature,

The E-Pub 

 Information from both the author’s and the reader’s points of view concerning the publishing frontier known as e-publishing. 

We introduce you this week to another talented writer from Down Under. Sarah Billington is a young force to be reckoned with in the writing world, and her first book, already available on Smashwords will be out officially on May 15.  So, grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy!

Sarah, at what age did you first realize you wanted to write books and how/when did you first share this ambition with “the world”? I was teeny tiny. As soon as I could write, there was paper littered all throughout our house with ideas and half-finished stories and character sketches. I don’t know that I declared my ambition with the world, it was more of a case of people assumed I would be a writer because I was writing all the time. It was a safe assumption.

Who in your life and what authors you read had the most influence over your decision to write? John Marsden is my writing hero. He got me started, he really did. His Tomorrow When the War Began series really sparked my imagination when I was young. Made me believe anything was possible. He came to my school for a school visit and I could NOT talk to him. I worship the man that much.

What influence has your career choice had on your choice of writing subjects – or vice versa? I’m one of those people who has floundered when trying to find their career, because I always wanted my career to be writing, but knew enough that it’s not generally a very lucrative field. I’ve worked in video shops since I was a teen, started as a junior and worked my way up to store manager over the years. I have studied a bunch of different things at University, and realized while I was procrastinating doing my course work, I was spending all my time researching the publishing industry. I always liked critiquing friends work and helping build their confidence and their skills as writers. I find it so rewarding, so that’s what I do now. I’m a freelance editor, working for small presses and indie authors. I have a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing and am 1 unit away from finishing my Bachelor of Writing & Publishing.

 You are writing for a Young Adult (YA) audience. What is it that attracts you about writing for this age group? When I hit about twenty or so, I started writing stories for grownups, but it just didn’t FEEL right. But I was a grownup, so I shouldn’t be writing about high school, should I? I had to write something literary! Something poetic, something that MEANT something!

That’s really not me. I write comedy. I try to entertain, and I’m constantly fascinated, permanently fascinated with new experiences and the different ways people handle them. Adolescence is a time of so many firsts, of feeling uncomfortable in your skin, of feeling awkward, of saying and doing the wrong thing. It is also a time of feeling like a complete ROCK STAR and getting more excited and passionate about things than any other time in your life. It appeals to me. So I write it.

Please talk about your soon-to-be-released YA e-book and also about any works in progress.  The Kiss Off is OFFICIALLY out May 15 but it’s on Smashwords already. It tells the story of sixteen-year-old Poppy Douglas who writes a song about her ex-boyfriend Cam and ex-friend Nikki — but has no idea that her heartbreak is about to go global. It’s getting such great reviews so far, I’m flabbergasted. No, that’s not the word. I really like the book but it’s always so rewarding when perfect strangers like it too! And some of the bloggers on my tour are liking it HARD. It makes me giddy.

Coming up next for Sarah Billington after The Kiss Off is an as-yet-untitled short story about one of those perfect bubble relationships. Have you ever had one of those, where you make a friend somewhere, and it’s like they GET you, you click instantly, but even if you never see them again it’s okay. Nothing can ruin that friendship, ever. That person, that day will remain perfect in your memory, forever. Well it’s about that.

AFTER that is a collection of ten interconnected stories that take place on one night at this one very eventful party, from the start of The Kiss Off. THEN next year there will be a Kiss Off 2. Phew!

Are there other YA authors you admire and what is it about their writing that you like? I am a Brent Crawford fan-girl. I tell everyone this. He writes boy comedy YA and his Carter books are so funny, and his characters so real. There are no boys you want to swoon over, here! These mates hit each other in the nuts simply because they can. Just like real boys. They’re awesome. I also love Louise Rennison and her Georgia Nicolson and Tallulah Casey books. Her characters are completely mental, and Louise’s writing style is so distinctive, you could never mistake her books for someone else’s.

I admire Suzanne Collins for how brave she is in her writing, some readers hated her for what she did to some of her characters in Mockingjay particularly, but I applauded her because she successfully made every reader FEEL things, which is the aim of writing. She just made people feel BAD things. I also admire James Dashner – I learnt a lot about writing when reading The Maze Runner. Every time I was sure I knew what was coming, he turned the whole plot up on its head.

Often, it takes a lot of encouragement for young readers to pick up a book and read. Do you think that e-publishing is a good way to break down youth’s resistance to reading? I’m going to have sit on the fence about this one at the moment, as at present, it doesn’t appear young people are embracing e-books in as big a way as adults. I don’t think e-books would truly make that much of a difference to print books when it comes to reading resistance, as reading is still reading, on an electronic device or on paper. I hope to be proven wrong!

You’ve also published a number of short stories for both YA and adult audiences. Which do you prefer more — writing book-length or short stories – and why? I like writing novels best because you can make them so much more complicated and give them greater depth than can be achieved in a short story. That said, I am a time-poor person. I have a humongous pile of books, both print and e-books, indie authors and traditionally published ones that I think sound amazing, but most of them are full length, and I just don’t tend to make it all the way through these days because I want to be reading that other one as well RIGHT NOW. I write short stories for time-poor people like me, so that they get to enjoy a complete story, and move on to the next. I also write shorter novels – between 50-80,000 words for the same reason. They’re the type you can breeze through without as big a commitment.

Is there another genre you’d like to try and what attracts you about that genre? There aren’t genres I WANT to try – I’m trying them! So as not to confuse readers of my light, fun girly YA books, I also write under a pseudonym, Edwina Ray. So far I have only published short stories, but there is a thriller (The Runaway), zombie (I, Zombie), murder mystery (Guilty Until Proven Innocent), supernatural YA (The Witch’s Curse) and soon to be a slipstream plague short story as well. I am 45,000 words into a YA zombie dark comedy as well, which though funny at times, is pretty gruesome. I don’t know which writing name to use for that.

 If you could pick another’s character and use him or her as a character in a novel, who would that be and in what type of setting would you write about him or her?  I don’t know that she would fit in in any of my books, but I absolutely love Lula from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. She’s hysterical and completely unapologetic. She knows she’s the shit. Maybe she could be an aunt to a character in one of my books. She comes to visit and Lula-shaped hijinx ensue.

 You poll your readers and ask them to list five words that best describe your novels. What top five words do they list? Fresh, funny, light, real, gossipy

 Are you a dog person or cat person and what kind of canine or feline assistance with your writing do you receive, if any?  Dog all the way! Alas, my dog (a blue heeler, the smartest, loveliest dog in the world) has been living with my parents for a couple of years and calls it home now. Plus they have a dog too who is her best friend. I can’t have a dog in my rental property, but I get to go and visit every 3-6 weeks or so and they both will either lie next to me on the bed, or sit on my feet if I’m at the computer or on the couch. So in answer to your question: they give a lot of assistance.

Are there any “secrets about Sarah” that you’d like your readers to know? Ooh. Good question, one I’ve never really considered. Um… Have you read on the internet posts about the top reasons the zombie apocalypse could ACTUALLY happen? One of the reasons is a disease called Toxoplasmosis, which is a bit of a mind control deal. Rats with toxoplasma tend to love cats for some reason, and want to hang out with them. And those cats love the rats too. They love them FOR DINNER.

So my big secret? I totally have toxoplasmosis. I was born with it and we THINK the only way it’s affected me is I have a scar on my left retina, so no central vision there. But it IS also in my brain, so if I were you I’d steer clear of me if the zombie apocalypse starts. Just a heads up.

 E-Pub PUB sidenote: We were able to share with Sarah that our daughter, now age 27, was diagnosed at birth with toxoplasmosis and that, thus far, we have experienced nothing of a zombie apocalpyse — although we still watch for signs 😉

Where can we find you and your books and short stories? Please share your links.

SOCIAL MEDIA
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SarahBillington
Facebook Fan Page: www.Facebook.com/SarahBillingtonBooks
Blog: www.SarahBillington.blogspot.com
Website: www.SarahBillington.weebly.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4079661.Sarah_Billington

BUY SARAH’S BOOKS:
Pre-order The Kiss Off and get it FIRST! http://www.sarahbillington.weebly.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Billington/e/B004WQVGTC
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/sarah-billington
Smashwords Author Page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SarahBillington
ITunes: http://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/sarah-billington/id437469288?mt=11
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=sarah+billington 
Diesel: http://search.diesel-ebooks.com/author/Billington,%20Sarah/results/1.html?&r=4f18dadf

Author Biography, Sarah Billington: Sarah Billington is an Australian writer and editor who likes to write stories with love, laughs, suspense and zombies. Sometimes all in the same story. Her favouritest thing to write about are those horrendously awkward moments that come with being a teenager. Or a human being. Sarah was extremely accident-prone and klutzy as a kid and teen, so her cup runneth over with experiences of horrendously awkward moments to draw from in her writing. Thankfully, she has grown out of her klutziness. Mostly. She is, however, still an embarrassment.

She loves a variety of random things, which include doggies (hers as well as yours), Swing Dancing, Ice Hockey, Roller Derby and she is a bit obsessive about paranormal investigation shows and channel E!. She writes light-hearted works under Sarah Billington, and darker, scarier and more torturous stories under her pen name, Edwina Ray.

She also runs an editing, cover design and ebook formatting company Billington Media.

The E-Pub PUB appreciates Sarah taking time out of her busy life to spend some time with us and we wish her much success with The Kiss Off as well as with all her upcoming projects!

 

 


Posted in Authors, Books, E-Pub PUB, E-publishing, Kindle, Nook, Publishing, Reading, Social Media, Writers, Writing, Young Adult | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Many Writing Worlds of Sable Grey

Welcome to our weekly feature,

The E-Pub 

 Information from both the author’s and the reader’s points of view concerning the publishing frontier known as e-publishing. 

This week, we’re thrilled to introduce to you author Sable Grey who recently published her thirtieth title! In addition to being a prolific writer, Sable also writes across multiple genres and we’re sure that you’ll enjoy reading what she has to say. So, grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy!

Sable, at what age did you first realize you wanted to write books and how/when did you first share this ambition with “the world”? I was about nine when my mother, in an effort to get me out of her hair, told me to go write a story about a duck, a rock, and a fork.  Hours later I came back with a story called The Duck, the Rock, & the Fork.  I’ve been writing ever since.

Who in your life and what authors you read had the most influence over your decision to write? I was an avid reader as a child.  Both my parents ate books daily, so while I chose Trixie Belden, Little House books, and Hardy Boys on our weekly trips to the bookstore, I also read what they read:  Stephen King, Piers Anthony, Louis Lamour.  But I didn’t fall in love with romance until 1993 when I read Iris Johansen’s Wind Dancer series.  After that, anything she or Betrice Small wrote, I read.

 Who are your favorite authors? Iris Johansen is still my all time favorite romance author.  And I think Stephen King has a brilliant mind.  I’m still a big fan of Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels.  Since I’ve been in the industry myself, I’ve discovered other authors that I enjoy as well.  Kaye Spencer, Deanna Lee, and Donna Grant are brilliant storytellers and I recommend any of their books for a good read.

You have, so far, created several different book series, as well as a few stand-alone books. Can you tell us a bit about each of the series? Yeah, I’m the one with the great idea of starting several series so it takes me forever to get around to the next book in each of them.  LOL  First I have the Heart of the Wolf Trilogy at Total EBound.  (The third book in the trilogy is in the works).  These books are about brothers in a shipping company during the Regency period.  Yep, they are wolf shifters.  The first is called His to Want.  It’s about Cadence Hurst who, in desperation after hearing of her husband’s death, goes to Victor Ashton and strikes a pretty scandalous bargain with him as a means of paying her husband’s debts.

The second book in the trilogy is called His to Have and is about Elle who tries to escape the life of a slave.  I love this character because she is feisty and pretty street smart and a perfect match for Michael Ashton (Victor’s brother).  She forces her way into his life and tries to blackmail him.

Another series that is underway is my Charlotte’s Brides series.  This series is an American historical about the women of Charlotte Oberman’s bride placement business.  Currently, there are three available in the series but I have plans for more and the next few are already in the works.

 Charlotte’s Brides: Danielle When Danielle Witmore enters a mail-order bride arrangement with a wealthy widower, Alistir Driscol, it’s all business until his family unexpectedly shows up and they must feign being in love.  Their pretense leads to a passion that could end, however, when someone tries to blackmail Alistir and Danielle must ask for help from an ex-lover to clear her husband’s name.

 Charlotte’s Brides: Vivian Vivian just knows that she is being sent to be the new bride of a man as detestable as the dusty town he lives in.  She doesn’t expect Corde Ashley or the wickedness she discovers within him and herself.  Corde thinks he’s sending for a new bride for his son but Vivian Bardsley and his son have different plans.  When she turns his world and his lust upside down, he must decide if he will let her go or hold on to her forever.

 Charlotte’s Brides: Sophie It has taken Hagan Von Albrecht years of practice to keep emotionally and physically removed from his work so that he remains professional during his sessions with his female patients.  However, one session with his new assistant, Sophie Rosette, who he found through a mail order bride business, and his cool resolve is shattered.  When he finally succumbs to her sweet desire, a man from Sophie’s past threatens to take her away from him.

 Your writing spans several genres, including historical romance, paranormal historicals, fantasy fiction, historical romance, and erotic romance. Which genre do you prefer to write and why? Historical romance and paranormal historical romance are my favorite genres to write.  While I completely flunked history in school, I discovered years later that I actually had a deep interest in history and genealogy.  In Christy’s Ghost, theMonroe family is actually loosely based on my own family in the same time period.  My very first publication was a historical with Liquid Silver Books, The Pirate’s Jewel.  While I do have contemporaries and write them from time to time, my heart belongs with history.

I wrote a fantasy fiction called The King’s Sword that I have plans to write a sequel to.  I like the fantasy genre because anything can happen.  My favorite part of writing that story were the Harpies.  I’ve always been interested in mythology so it was fun to actually pull from that interest and create a story.

Is there another genre you’d like to try and what attracts you about that genre? I would love to try my hand at horror some day.  I love Stephen King and his influence is evident even in some of my romance titles, because I don’t shy away from darker scenes.  A good example of this is in The Warrior’s Heart.  There are some pretty dark and twisted scenes in the book.  I could have easily turned the vampire and wolf shifters into something much darker and added more horror elements.

Do you have any new or upcoming releases you’d like to tell us about? Currently, I’m involved in Chapter by Chapter competition with Kay Spencer.  Each week we post a new chapter to our novels on our websites and invite readers to comment.  She’s writing a book called The Comanchero’s Bride, a western romance with a villain that I absolutely HATE.  LOL  I’m writing a historical set during the American Revolution called Heart of the Storm.

My newest releases: Cloaked in Moonlight.  It’s a short erotic romance set in Regency England about a woman and the man she’s always had a crush on.  She thought she knew him well but when it’s revealed that he’s a wolf shifter, she must come to terms with it or run away as fast as she can.  It’s available at Cobblestone Press.  This title marks my 30th title.

 Insatiable.  This is a very short but probably the hottest thing I’ve ever written.  It’s also a wolf shifter historical, available at Breathless Press.

The recent popularity of E. L. James’ “50 Shades of Grey,” an erotic fiction paperback that made it onto the NY Times Bestseller list and made its author a household name, has led to increased demand by women readers for erotica. In your opinion, do women readers want erotica that’s different from erotica read by men? Do you think the current increased demand for erotica is just “a flash in the pan,” or do you predict that this genre will continue to grow in popularity? You know, to be honest, I believe the entire gasping over erotica and erotic fiction is laughable.  Sex sells.  It always has.  The reason it’s so shocking now is because it’s women buying the genre instead of men.  Oh my, really?  Women read about sex?  The shame of it all!  LOL

I think the difference between the erotic material that men read and what women read is genre preference. I mean, look at the Longarm books.  Those are westerns where the hero fights the bad guys and gets all the girls.  It makes sense that men would choose that sort of erotic fiction over Ellora’s Cave erotica with the women and men falling in love with one another.

If I thought erotic fiction a flash in the pan, Deanna Lee and I would have never started Cobblestone Press.  I believe with the world now online and comfortable with purchasing downloadable formats discreetly through Amazon or their favorite publisher sites that erotic fiction is here to stay.

 If you could pick another author’s character and use him or her as a character in a novel of your own, what character would that be and in what type of setting would you write about him or her? Now, that is a very difficult question.  I mean, when I think of all the books I’ve read and characters I’ve fallen in love with, it’s difficult to choose just one.  I’m fairly certain a popular answer among romance authors would be Mr. Darcy so I’ll skip him (though that image of Colin Firth coming out of the water is there forever tempting us to write the dirty that should have happened).  Kaye Spencer wrote a book called Lonely Places.  I absolutely loved Beau Hyatt.  I could totally write a western romance with him.

 You poll your readers and ask them to list five words that best describe your novels. What top five words would they list? Character-driven & emotionally charged sex LOL  Okay I have no idea.  Those are my five words about my novels.

Are you more “a dog person” or “a cat person,” and what kind of canine or feline assistance with your writing do you receive, if any? I’m more of a dog person, though I do have both cats and dogs.  I have three canine children and three feline children around whom my entire day is scheduled.  I have to work in writing between entertaining them.

 You’re admitted to heaven and you decide to throw a dinner party to celebrate your arrival.  What five people, living or dead, are on your guest list? This is a comedy right?  Because in reality they won’t take me in heaven and the devil is scared I’ll take over; it’s best if I just continue my attempts to take over the world and live forever.  But the five that I would share a world domination celebration dinner with are Deanna Lee (we’re already teamed up on this project anyway and she would be pissed to be left out of this scenario), Dean Martin (he can bring the drinks), Kaye Spencer (so we can drool over Dean Martin together), Sam Elliot (So in the end I get Dean all to myself by giving Kaye her dream guy), and William Shatner in the event that we need to take over other worlds as well as our own.  Yes, that’s right, I’m a Star Trek nerd.  And?

Where can you and your books be found on line – would you share your links with us?

Sable Grey website: http://www.sablegrey.net

Sable Grey on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Sable-Grey/e/B004OKW190/

Liquid Silver Books:  http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com

Breathless Press:  http://www.breathlesspress.com

Cobblestone Press:  http://www.cobblestone-press.com

Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com  (writing under the name Amon Bieste)

Sable Grey, Author Biography: Sable Grey resides in the deep south of the United States with her artistic husband, three very spoiled dogs, and three crazy cats.  She spends her free time researching family genealogies, designing cover art, watching movies, and reading.

With authors like Stephen King, Piers Anthony, and Iris Johansen, it’s no mystery where the inspiration to write tales of love, adventure, and thrillers come from.  Sable is dedicated to her craft and to bringing her readers quality fiction with unforgettable characters.

10 Things you might not have known about Sable Grey

  1. I have three tattoos (Quill and a dragonfly on the back of my left shoulder and a ring of elephants around my left ankle)
  2. I hate the movie It’s a Wonderful Life
  3. My favorite movie is The Shining
  4. I love to cook
  5. Elephants are my favorite animal.  I have a collection of well over 1000 elephant figurines and knick knacks.
  6. KFC is my favorite fast food.  I’m southern so I have to love fried chicken.  It’s the law.
  7. I’m an Aquarius with a Cancer moon, which basically means I say what I think and feel bad about it later but not so bad that I apologize because it was the truth.  LOL
  8. By nature I’m a pack rat but every couple of months I watch an episode of Hoarders which creeps me out so much that I throw stuff away.
  9. Four of my pets have western themed names.  Marshall Dillon, Miss Kitty, & Doc (from Gunsmoke) and Pocahontas (so I could have cowboys and Indians).  The other two are an orange tabby called Zed, who my step daughter named after a character in a book, and Amber who I wasn’t sure we were going to keep so I called her Amber because of the color of her kitten eyes.  They are now green.  *sigh*
  10. I play on a pool league and love to sing karaoke poorly
The E-Pub PUB thanks Sable for a fun interview and wishes her much continued success with her writing career!


Posted in Authors, Books, E-Pub PUB, E-publishing, E-readers, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance, Kindle, Nook, Paranormal Romance, Publishing, Reading, Romance, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

A to Z Challenge: A is for …

So, I’ve challenged myself to write a thematic post for each letter of the alphabet. Shouldn’t be so hard, eh? Think again!

The difficulty, you see, is not in writing a post — or twenty-six of them, for that matter. Poor letter “A” — so many topics beginning with “A” from which to choose! I think I’ll start with the obvious — to me, at least — then see where we go from there 😉

A is for AUTHOR, and as of right now, A also is the most important letter in my alphabet! I aspire to be a published author. To see books with my name on them. E-books, paperback books — it doesn’t really matter. To see that first book, to hold that first paperback in my hand is a day to which I look forward.

According to Wikipedia, I’m already an author. Wiki says “an author is broadly defined as ‘the person who originates or gives existence to anything’ and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.” Well, shucks. I’ve “authored” grant proposals, employee manuals, program manuals, letters to the editor, crossword puzzles, newsletters, blog posts, brochures, and myriad other written works over the years.

But, that Wiki definition just doesn’t quite do it for me. I want to fondle the paper, smell the ink, admire the cover, and feel the weight of my published book in my hands.

Crick risin'Someday, if the Good Lord wills it and the crick don’t rise — and if I monitor more closely my time spent on Facebook and on writing blog posts — it’s going to happen! You, Dear Reader, will be the first to know 😉

Now, I’d be terribly amiss if I didn’t also mention the Authors who’ve graciously given of their time to grace the pages of The E-Pub PUB feature in this blog, including to-date: R. L. Pace and Dixon Rice, Leona Bodie, Robert Walker, Amber Garr, Jeff Faria, Tony Slater, Troy Lambert, Terry Odell, Lindsay Downs, Janet Sierzant, and David Bishop. Thanks to each and every one of them for sharing a little about themselves and their books!

Finally, I can’t close out letter A without mentioning an on-line friend of mine, a newly-published author by the name of Danny Kemp. Danny is a delightful Londoner, a London Taxi Cab driver, who has had his fair share of downfalls over the past few years, including several just as he was going to press. Danny also is proof that persistence pays off and that “good things happen to good people.” Not only did his novel, The Desolate Garden , finally become a reality, recently, but just last week Danny received word that filming for his book will begin early next year in the UAE! Congratulations, Danny! 🙂

Come back soon to read about the letter “B,” and remember to claim your own letter, if you want, by leaving a comment.

Posted in Alphabet, Authors, Challenge, E-Pub PUB, Word Usage, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , | 20 Comments